“MUCH like internet dating, the friendships you form online can come together quickly and intensely,” says Amanda Whitley, editor of HerCanberra.
“I think it’s particularly true for women, because we’re more likely to share things about ourselves freely.
“It’s that kind of connection that I’d love to see HerCanberra readers establish.”
Ex-public servant Amanda says she started HerCanberra, a website that’s “part blog, part city guide, part fashion and beauty mag” with the idea of forming an online community for women in Canberra.
“It can be hard to meet people here, and connecting with like-minded people online can really help,” she says.
Amanda says that HerCanberra was inspired by her experience of working on Mia Freedman’s website Mamamia, while on extended maternity leave with her second daughter, who was born prematurely at 30 weeks.
“I was very isolated and Mamamia became a lifeline for me at the time,” she says. “I started commenting and then exchanging tweets with Mia, and we became friends. Later she asked me to be a moderator for the site, which I really enjoyed.
“I felt proud to have been able to help Mia build up such a supportive community.
“That’s why I wanted to create HerCanberra – to build up a community like that here. Eventually I’d like to have regular events, like the recent Chick’s Cocktails where we teamed up with The Durham in Kingston, so we can extend that online connection into real life – for both contributors and readers.”
Despite its similarities to Mamamia, in bringing together different writers to talk about everything from what’s in the news, books and movies, family and friends to fashion and beauty, Amanda says HerCanberra is becoming “a very different animal” to Mamamia.
“It’s much more local,” she says. “We’ve now got around 30 fantastic Canberra writers and bloggers contributing to the site, all bringing something different, and we’re much more about what’s happening around town and sharing ways for women to enjoy Canberra.
“I’m conscious that I don’t want it to be just another mummy blog. Not all Canberra women are interested in babies, and not all mums only want to read about baby things.
“I want it to be like girlfriends chatting over a coffee.”